A few months ago I went to visit my friend Suzy from The Scenter of Town and she asked me if I was going to Expo East. When I responded that I had no idea what that was her face made all sorts of weird angles and she finally asked me what the heck was wrong with me. So apparently it’s a big deal.
I signed up and made plans to head up with Suzy and Karyn and left the shop in the able hands of my husband, Richard. We departed at 5am towards Baltimore to get ahead of traffic although I am still sure it was largely to torture me. We arrived in Baltimore by 7:30 am, a good hour and a half until things really got started. We putzed around a while, I removed
my IV of coffee and finally the expo began.
The Baltimore Convention Center, home of the Natural Products Expo East, is almost 14 acres in size. That, my friends, is really big. The largest area, the first floor, was split into two main sections foods and personal care/supplements/home care. Shortly after arriving we split up, me heading off to the food of course.
I’m not gonna lie, my first day was a wash of tasting gluten-free things, seeing tons of people, bright lights, music and more. I think I only made it through about 1/16th of the actual food area before Suzy said it was about time to head out. Thankfully Reed’s does indeed set up an intense music and bar booth, just the ticket when your brain is fizzled by overstimulation. I did head over at one point to the Garden of Life “booth” (more like a small planet) and met Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain. He is an amazing person and doctor on the cutting edge of research into the effects of our nutrition on our brain and body function.
At 5am, Friday morning armed with my clip board and expo map, I made my way with the gals back to Baltimore. Friday morning was the Boulder Brands breakfast, which I had been skeptical about until we walked outside. There was only one section that was glutenful and it was totally separate from all the gluten-free. Glutino and Udi’s are Boulder Brands, and that was what the majority of the breakfast entailed from fresh made pancakes and French toast to bagels and bread with several dedicated gluten-free toasters. There were fresh fruit and veggie smoothies being blended and a table set up with just about every spreadable Earth Balance product. Oh, of course there was also platter upon platter of potato hash, scrambled eggs and bacon. Since we were there early we got first pick and didn’t have to fight for a plate, which is apparently a thing later in the morning. I took a big Udi’s everything bagel, some bacon and eggs, a smear of Earth Balance coconut spread and made a breakfast sandwich. We all ate probably way too much food, but headed off to start the day. I sat and waited for Joel Salatin’s morning lecture and the ladies headed out to the main level to get busy.
If you ever have a chance to hear Joel Salatin speak or meet him, just do it. What he talks about is not exclusive to farmers or foodies, it applies to everyone in our society. Joel’s talk Friday morning was about the orthodoxies of our society, or those things that we have historically considered normal and acceptable and looked back and found how wrong it was, like slavery. He posed a question to the guests: what will our children and ancestors look back on as orthodoxies of our current time? Will my children look back on what we did and ask how and why we did the things we did to our food systems?
Because one of Joel’s largest points was that a system of electronic distribution of food (ie Relay Foods type stores online) make accessibility not only possible but more affordable, my question for him during the book signing was how a market like mine could still remain relevant though we cannot possibly compete with the low prices they offer. His response was that a system like Relay is something that is replacing the large chain grocery store, but offering many foods, natural and local products at a lower cost. He said that a market like mine really needed to focus on education and support to make a difference as well as offer a line of unique products that can’t be found on any store shelf. I felt very reassured by the direction that we have chosen for Kickshaws and the mission of the store given our current climate in the national food systems. Lastly I asked him if I could get a picture and he stood up, leaned over the table and squished next to me so we could get a selfie- he said THAT is how it is done. I do have much more to share about Joel’s talk, but that will come in a later post.
The remainder of the day I buzzed through the expo (minus a few moments of silliness as Carlson Calamari) finding those I needed to talk to and securing products I would be testing with our customers. I met so many awesome companies and employees that are so passionate about what they do and who they do it for. It really rejuvenated my passion for stocking our little market with these incredible products. Of course, now you are wondering what goodies really are coming out of this expo for the shelves of Kickshaws? Well, here we go:
- Chosen Foods– Winner’s of the Expo East Best award this year for their new Avocado Oil Mayonnaise! We will be getting their mayo and a few oils
- Smart Flour– Smart Flour is a great small company that makes wonderful gluten-free pizza crusts with antient grains like teff, sorghum and amaranth. Also- oober tasty. Cheese pizza NOW IN STOCK!
- So Young Bags– An awesome small business with a hot following, maker of beautiful and durable lunch and diaper bags as well as backpacks.
- Epic– We started carrying Epic bars last month and can’t keep them in stock. We will have a handy dandy new display coming to fill with bars and harvest packs soon.
- Fatface– Winner of my personal favorite deodorant with their “Stank Stop” which works beautifully. We sampled many, many deodorants this week- with some yard work being the deciding factor! We will get Stank Stop as well as a few other Fatface products.
- Manitoba Harvest, Hemphearts– Maker of clean, high protein, high omega 3/6 bars and snacks which you all tried Saturday and loved. Tasty, vegan and gluten-free.
- Tiny But Mighty Popcorn– Heirloom popcorn, 100% non-gmo, delicious and plentiful! Tiny But Mighty’s owners and staff are amazing and dedicated to what they do and you can tell by the product!
- Vital Proteins – Very popular among the paleo community, we got a few samples of gelatin and collagen peptides to try. I hadn’t tried them before, but other similar products. Both are an awesome healing addition to your diet that is super easy to blend in. We will get both items as well as pastured beef live capsules. If I haven’t ever mentioned it, organ meats can be so instrumental in healing the body and gut, and with caps, there is no excuse not to add them in.
- Lumi Juices– A local fresh pressed juice company located in Charlottesville, Va. A small, but growing company dedicated to an amazing fresh and healthy product.
- Cultures For Health: Makers and resellers of just about every product you could possibly require for all your fermenting and culturing needs. We will finally be stocking kefir grains, rennet and a few other goods to get you on your fermenting and cheese making whey. (See what I did there?)
- Lotus Foods: Gluten-free Ramen! Need I say more? NOW IN STOCK!
We will also be stocking up on great products we already carry but got the opportunity meet last week including:
- NoBull Burgers– Another great Charlottesville area company with incredible vegan and gluten-free burgers which will be part of Kickshaws Kitchen’s offerings! NOW BACK IN STOCK!
- Sweet Note Bagel– The lovely bagel gals knock everyone’s socks off with their amazing bagels, I swear you could never tell are gluten-free.
- Health Ade– We just started carrying Health Ade’s Pink Lady Kombucha and it is very popular! We will be expanding our selection to include some of the awesome new flavors they were sampling this past week.
- Califia Farms– Maker’s of great nut milks, juice and cold brew coffee. By the end of this year all stabilizers will be removed from every Califia Product!
I am pretty sure there are some I am missing, but suffice it to say that there will be lot’s of new and exciting reasons to stop in and see what is new at Kickshaws Downtown Market! Till next year Baltimore, Expo East Natural Products Expo, you rocked my world.
Most folks know about my long journey to healing, which is always continuing. A few years ago I started AIP (Autoimmune Paleo Protocol) to eliminate triggers and promote healing. It is not something that may be right for everyone, but it certainly has been a huge help for me. On my personal blog Cake Cooks Gluten-free, I added an update to my journey as well as a link to an update from a year ago when I guest blogged on Paleo Parents. (awesome AIP recipe with that one!)
Eliminating any large food group is very hard. Because its such a hard process, one of things that we talk a lot about it support. Support and access is exactly why we opened Kickshaws Downtown Market. This coming month, we are introducing a new AIP Freezer Meal Workshop. It will be a great opportunity to meet others who are on the same journey as you, get support and information and learn about meal prep for your new AIP lifestyle. The first workshop will be July 19th, 2pm-4pm. The cost will be $25 and include AIP Approved spice blends that you can use during the workshop. To sign up, please shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can get you set up with a shopping list. If you bring your shopping list to Kickshaws, any purchases made for the workshop will be 10% off. Registration is limited to 8 people (space is limited!) so please register as soon as possible.
It has been one week since the Indiegogo campaign ended and we have lots of annoucenments! First and foremost, thank you SO much for all those who championed our cause. Without such amazing and supportive folks in this community we would never have opened Kickshaws to begin with, let alone planned on expanding for Kickshaws Kitchen. We raised a total of $3,421, just under 20% of the funding goal. Sure that seems low, but we did set the goal considerably high. We went back and forth on how much we should set it for and went for the whole amount because we wanted to be completely transparent with our supporters. So really, 20% isn’t terrible!
A number of folks have come to us asking if we would still take contributions after the Indiegogo Campaign ended. The answer is- of course! We would love your support. Through the end of June, we are still going to be honoring our supporters with the same prizes available through the Indiegogo campaign for any in-store donation. To check out those prizes go to the Indiegogo page here.
Slow Food RVA Microgrant
On May 17th, we attended GRAZE, a Slow Food RVA event at Origins Farm in Hanover Virginia. If you are unfamiliar with Slow Food, Slow Food is an international organization that is focused on growing and maintaining sustainable food sources, supporting local agriculture, consumers and our environment. They have a big focus on education, which makes Kickshaws Kitchen a perfect fit for this year’s Microgrant program. On the 17th, Kickshaws received a $1000 grant from Slow Food RVA to support the educational focus of the kitchen. Thank you SO much Slow Food RVA for all your support. Once we get Kickshaws Kitchen set up, we hope to get Slow Food FXBG going!
Fredericksburg City Economic Development Authority, JumpStart Grant
This month we were also awarded a matching grant for $10,000 from the City of Fredericksburg’s EDA JumpStart Grant program. This grant will help support a large chunk of the build out cost for the kitchen with our general contractor including a costly ventless hood. The city is excited about our plans for Kickshaws Kitchen and the continued development of the historic district and we are excited to be part of it all.
This week we are in the throes of preparing for the ground-breaking of construction for Kickshaws Kitchen. With all our funding sources, we are at about 60% funded for the build , so if you do want to make a contribution it would help immensely. Our contractor is ready to get moving so we just need to give the go ahead. We hope to have all our ducks in a row by the end of the week and start the permit process either next week or the following. Because permitting and such can take time in Fredericksburg, we don’t want to anncounce a definitive timeline, but we are projecting completion by Fall 2015.
Again- THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the support as we work towards opening Kickshaws Kitchen! It is a new and exciting time for downtown Fredericksburg!
IT IS OFFICIAL…
This week we signed the lease for our new space at 103 ½ William Street, Fredericksburg Virginia. (aren’t half addresses awesome!? We think Harry Potter….)
If you haven’t heard yet, we are building Kickshaws Kitchen- a kitchen serving food and education in Fredericksburg. Kickshaws Kitchen will offer breakfast and lunch service (always completely gluten-free with vegetarian and vegan options always available) via window and in the late day and evening we will host our educational workshops.
Over the last year that Kickshaws Downtown Market has been open we have met so many amazing people, many who are working on improving health and wellbeing through nutrition. That is why we started to offer our workshops on various whole foods and living subjects. Through these workshops many of our great customers have found direction and help, but they want more. We want to offer Fredericksburg more, but to do that, we need more space.
In the new space we will be able to expand on our classes with more times available and many more subjects that we cannot currently do in our current space. We will also be able to consistently provide excellent vegan and gluten-free baked goods which we currently have a hard time keeping up with in our tiny store kitchen.
Our goal is to continue to not only provide access to healthy foods and products, but to provide the education that is needed to utilize those products for better health and living.
Are you tired of being sick and tired? Help us open Kickshaws Kitchen!
There it is… your SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)… sitting on your counter. It appears to possibly be staring at you, it is alive after all. You made your first batch of sauerkraut and it is doing its fermenting thing, but this thing… it sort of scares you. So what do you do now?
In class we do a demonstration of what you are doing through your first ferment. You get to see and touch a living SCOBY and of course, get your own to take home with you. Because we feel that transporting a gallon of fermenting kombucha to and fro would be a little arduous, we only demo kombucha brewing. But we have found that folks are really hesitant to get moving forward on brewing.
After the class:
First and foremost- the most important thing to remember is that you should use your SCOBY much sooner than later. If it remains dormant for too long (refrigerated or room temp) or with its starter evaporating out in the open, it will become stale. What is stale for a SCOBY? Stale basically means that those amazing colonies of bacteria are dying off. Ideally you should use your SCOBY within two weeks of receiving it. The longer it sits, the less you have to work with.
I always fall back on the movie The Robinson’s when I think about failure. The motto of the Robinson family is “keep moving forward” and they celebrate the failures because you learn from them. So let’s just say for instance you brew a batch of kombucha and it tastes horrible? Celebrate; glitter, streamers- shoot- go out to dinner! Why? Well because at least you have started and from that, you are beginning to learn. When you get back from your dinner, brew some tea, blend in the sugar and start again!
There is very little to really worry about. If you use best practices when brewing your booch, you are NOT going to kill yourself or anyone else. That being said, I have heard some horrible stories of folks brewing their batches under bathroom sinks and such… which, let me tell you- that is just a terrible idea. TERRIBLE. Be certain that all your brewing materials (bottles, fermenting vessel, blending spoons, etc) are all clean. A good vinegar wash or run through the dishwasher (no soap needed, just heat) will ensure that you’re starting off with a clean working surface. And for the love of Pete, place your fermenting kombucha in a place of glory, on a shelf or on top of the fridge or build a dedicated pedestal for it- just don’t stick it in a dark dank place that is breeding with nasty UNHEALTHY bacteria.
Ok… mold is the enemy to fermentation… seriously. BUT do not mistaken dark spots in your SCOBY or dangly dark bits as mold. If you see some funky things happening, look at the surface of your SCOBY… is there fuzz? No? Keep moving forward (cautiously). Just keep an eye on it; check on it every few days to see how it is developing. You do see mold? Welp, it’s time to find a new SCOBY. There are ways to recover a SCOBY, but really, the easiest and healthiest thing to do is find a new SCOBY (which we usually have in the shop). Whatever you do, DO NOT consume moldy SCOBY booch…it tastes terrible, but more so, it could make you sick. But with all honesty, mold is a somewhat rare occurrence if you follow the guidelines above. So don’t be afraid… just keep moving forward.
My mother had Amish Friendship Bread when we were growing up. A co-worker gave her a starter and she kept going forward with it. I remember watching the bag fill with air and look like it would pop and she would add the next ingredient and mash it all together. It was tasty… but she hated it so much because it was a continuous bread making adventure. It took a considerable amount of commitment to keep it going.
Kombucha is sort of like Amish Friendship Bread… only the benefits are much better. For a little time, it gives you amazing gut health, probiotic benefits and so much more. Plus… the minimum you want to let your booch run is a week-10 days, but if you let it go for several weeks… well benefits are still there too. You can brew your kombucha for a week or taste it and brew it until you like the way it tastes. After you have been brewing for a little while, you will get a feel for your own preferences in your first ferment. If you happen to totally forget about your booch and it tastes like some wicked vinegar… it’s ok. Keep moving forward. Just dump the batch, be sure to keep enough fluid to use as a starter for a new brew (at least ½ cup) and start again. If you are worried there won’t be enough oomph (a.ka. bacteria) to start a new batch, you can always add some already made kombucha that is store bought (just be sure it is raw and unflavored).
Stinky, vinegary, bubble-less? There are a lot of things that can happen when you are brewing. The longer you do it the more comfortable that you will get in what you are doing. I tend to fall back on a number of great resources like Len Porzio, a kombucha fanatic and master. He has an incredibly detailed page called Balance Your Brew which offers an amazing breakdown on some troubleshooting once you start to get a little more comfortable with what you are doing. I find that the longer I brew, the more I get into the details of balance of flavor, dryness, sweetness and more. He is a great resource for finding that perfect booch balance. I often reference Jill Cicirelli in class as well, a great resource for awesome small batch fermenting. She has a page dedicated to kombucha making here and of course there is her book- Fermented, A Four Season Approach to Probiotic Foods.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if after a few brews you are the only one who will drink your kombucha. First of all, well, yay, more booch for you! Secondly, as you keep going, your brew will get better. I had been brewing for several months with very skeptical looks from my kids until one day my second ferment just suddenly disappeared… into their bellies. Once you get the hang of your first ferment, you can start to work some magic in your second ferment. But, you don’t have to do a second ferment to have beneficial kombucha. Enjoy what you are doing, experiment and have fun. Remember if you screw up, you can usually just start over. So… just keep moving forward.